JEDDAH: Falcon fans from across the Kingdom and beyond are flocking to an exhibition in Saudi Arabia where the bird takes center stage.
The 10-day Saudi International Falcons and Hunting Exhibition at the headquarters of the Saudi Falcons Club in Mulham, north of Riyadh, is thought to be the largest in the world. It includes pavilions devoted to hunting weapons, various species of falcon, arts and family activities, along with shooting ranges, a Saudi village, a corner for future falconers, and a digital museum. Organizers also promise a host of accompanying events and a few surprises for visitors.
Mohammed F. Alkanfari, a falcon owner, told Arab News the club was a magnet for people who loved falcons — and not just men. Many women were interested in buying and owning birds, often some of the rarest, he said.
Alkanfari began raising the birds seven years ago, and falconry is now his favorite hobby, as it is for many in the Kingdom. He owns four falcons and aims to own eight, and is particularly interested peregrine falcons.
One of the exhibition’s most popular features is educating children on the history and heritage of falconry through interactive games. “Fly your falcon” is an interactive game in which children stand in front of a screen and guide their soaring falcon through the air, maneuvering their way around obstacles to reach their target prey.
The supervisor of the games section, Taghreed Al-Dosary, said there were two interactive areas aimed at encouraging young people to learn more about falcons and falconry in a language that spoke to them — the language of games.
The fun activities available in the section suited young age groups and covered several areas of interest in showcasing the importance of preserving the heritage that spanned generations in the Arabian Peninsula, he said.
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